There aren't as many weapons in Bloodborne as there are in Dark Souls, but there's still plenty of variety in the ones you encounter throughout the game. Some weapons you can't obtain until you complete your first playthrough and begin New Game+, while others you may not acquire until much later. With that in mind, we compiled a list of the best Bloodborne weapons you'll be able to use throughout most of your first playthrough.
The first time you visit Hunter's Dream, you can choose between the Saw Cleaver, Hunter Axe and Threaded Cane for your primary weapon. Of the three, the Saw Cleaver will give you the best overall experience during the early portions of the adventure. This weapon lets you attack at a high speed but still inflicts considerable damage. It doesn't have the knockdown power of the Hunter Axe, but when you take on bigger enemies, you can use your gun to stun these foes instead of knocking them down.
One of the best features of the Saw Cleaver is that normal attacks stun most enemies. It also attacks fast enough that you don't have to wait for a monster to counter. Simply run up to a group of enemies and start attacking with your Saw Cleaver. So long as you don't run out of stamina you should be able to take them down before they have chance to respond. If another enemy is just outside of your attack range, hit L1 to switch to the long-form to give you a bit of extended reach. With that one exception, you should almost always use the normal (R1) attack and short-form.
If you need a bit of extra damage, the Hunter Axe is ideal. It doesn't have the speed of the Saw Cleaver or Threaded Cane, but it makes up for that with damage and stopping power. There are few enemies in the game that can't be knocked down by the fully charged Charge Attack (hold R2) of the Hunter Axe in long-form. The double swing of the Charge Attack also gives you plenty of range, so you can stand out of harm's way and still attack a group.
Your best bet is to have the Hunter Axe and Saw Cleaver early on. The Saw Cleaver should also be in short-form, attacking with R1 to quickly take down most enemies. Anytime a larger enemy shows up, you can switch over to your Hunter Axe and use the Charge Attack to take down a group of enemies (long-form) or a single enemy (short-form). Just keep in mind the Hunter Axe is not a fast weapon. Don't take hit after hit trying to attack an enemy that's too fast for the Hunter Axe to handle. That's what the Saw Cleaver is for.
Ludwig's Holy Blade
The Holy Blade costs 20,000 Blood Echoes and can be purchased from the Bath Messenger in Hunter's Dream. While 20,000 is a lot early on, the Holy Blade is a replacement for the Saw Cleaver and isn't meant to be used as soon as you have enough Echoes to buy it. You can wait until you've leveled up a few times before you partake in the Holy Blade.
While Ludwig's Blade isn't quite as fast as the Saw Cleaver, it's faster than the Hunter Axe. You can use it in almost exactly the same situations you would use the Saw Cleaver, then switch to either long-form or to your Hunter Axe when larger enemies show up. Even with the Holy Blade, the Hunter Axe should still be your go-to weapon for larger enemies or groups that you should keep your distance from.
One additional advantage of the Holy Blade is that it has a variety of attack types. The normal R1 attack falls into the slash category, the short-form Charge Attack is considered a thrust attack and the long-form attacks offer blunt damage. With some enemies being weaker or stronger to blunt, slash or thrust damage, this essentially means you have an answer to almost every enemy in the game once you acquire the Holy Blade.
The primary advantage of the Threaded Cane is that it gives you many advantages of the Saw Cleaver and Hunter Axe all in one weapon. You may ask, "Why not just use this weapon the entire game?" The answer is simple. While you gain the speed of the Saw Cleaver and range of the Hunter Axe, it lacks the damage and stopping power of both. While the Threaded Cane does well against most enemies, you'll have better results going with the Saw Cleaver and Hunter Axe combo.
For your secondary weapon, the Hunter Pistol should be your default choice. It's fast but doesn't have a lot of stopping power. However, if you're using the Saw Cleaver (or Holy Blade) and Hunter Axe combo, you already have plenty of stopping power. The extra speed of the Hunter Pistol over most of the other guns will make it easier to land stuns on enemies and follow with a visceral attack.
While the Repeating Pistol uses two Quicksilver Bullets every time you shoot it, the stopping power of this weapon is nearly unmatched. It knocks down most normal enemies and stops larger ones dead in their tracks. There are few opponents in the game the Repeating Pistol won't stop, at least for a brief moment.
There are more powerful guns than the Repeating Pistol, but the advantage here is the speed of the shot. More than likely you'll carry a Torch as your second left hand weapon. You won't have the luxury of quickly swapping between weapons like you can with the Hunter Axe and Holy Blade. Therefore, having a fast shot and the stopping power of the Repeating Pistol gives you the best of both worlds, so long as you have the ammunition to feed it.
You won't receive the Burial Blade on your first Bloodborne play through, but depending how you finished the first game, you will be able to buy it from the Bath Messenger shop at the start of your New Game+ adventure. Think of the Burial Blade as a cross between the Holy Sword and the Hunter Axe. It has the speed of the Holy Sword, but the stopping power of the Hunter Axe. In long-form it has about as much range as the Hunter Axe if you disregard Charge Attack of the Axe.
What also makes the Burial Blade interesting is that it has an Arcane stat. That means increasing your Arcane level will increase the attack power of the weapon as well. In addition, some of the damage inflicted by the Burial Blade is considered an arcane attack, which means it works better against enemies weak to that stat.
The Tonitrus is arguably the most unique weapon in the game because it's one of the few weapons that has a Bolt attack without the need to use Bolt Paper. You can equip Bolt-related Blood Gems to increase the Bolt attack without having to sacrifice physical damage like you would with most of the other weapons. It also has an Arcane stat, which means leveling up your Arcane will increase the damage of the weapon in addition to leveling up Strength or Skill.
This is essentially a replacement for your Saw Cleaver. It attacks quickly enough, but doesn't have a lot of stopping power or range in most situations. The main advantage of this weapon is the built-in Bolt attack power above all else.